For 2020, the Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Invitational Regatta have welcomed a record-breaking 175 entries and well over 500 sailors representing 19 nations, proving its status as the sport’s most popular Spring regatta.
On Thursday 5 March, the Star Class was joined by the complete line-up of one-design classes racing at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta. Taking on their first day of racing were the J/70, Melges 24, Viper 640, and, brand new for the race track this year, the VX One sports boat, AV8 and Windfoil classes. The blend of sailors battling it out for glory on Biscayne Bay is phenomenal, with a mix of professional rock stars and super-talented Corinthian teams.
Mateusz Kusnierewicz (POL) / Bruno Prada (BRA) made it another big day in the Star Class, as they seized the bullet to make it three wins in a row and lead the fleet on a perfect scorecard of 3 points. The pair have shown classy form and today secured a critical points edge with just two races to go to crown the 93rd Bacardi Cup champions. Behind the order of play remains the same at the end of the day as at the beginning with Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR) and Augie Diaz / Henry Boening (USA) pushing hard in second and third. It will now take an epic assault to unseat the reigning Star Class World Champions Kusnierewicz and Prada from their top billing, but one the chasing teams are willing to try. Among them are Paul Cayard (USA) / Pedro Trouche (BRA), who sit in fifth overall after a disappointing 17th finish yesterday. But they rebounded to deliver their best day, a 2nd place, and proved they can still fight amongst the best.
“This might be my 25th Bacardi Cup, surely the first one was in 1980,” commented Olympian, multiple World Champion, Louis Vuitton Cup and Whitbread Round the World winner Paul Cayard. “We had a very bad day yesterday when I could not put us in a good position at the start, but I am happy about today, our best result so far. It’s just that Mateusz and Bruno are so fast, and with three wins, we can all just fight to be second best.”
Out on the track first were the Melges 24 and J70 who raced in the south of the bay, starting out in a fluky 5-6 knots before the breeze steadied to 9-10 knots. Three races in the Melges 24 saw the big hitters out front early on, with Bora Gulari and his team of Kyle Navin / Norman Berg / Ian Liberty and match racing superstar Taylor Canfield setting the pace to secure two wins and a second place to lead overall.
Just 2 points behind are KC Shannon / Jackson Benvenutti / Ben Lynchi / Tom Sawchuk / Elizabeth Whitener, with Peter Duncan / Victor Diaz de Leon / Mattero Ramian / Carlos Robles / Willem Van Waay in third.
The aptly named "Eat Sleep J Repeat" helmed by reigning J/70 World Champion Paul Ward (GBR) with crew of Ruairidh Scott / Ben Saxton / Mario Trindade were the pace setters in the J70 fleet, second to Ryan McKillen / John Wallace / Sam Loughborough / Mark Mendelblatt (USA) and third to Chile’s Pablo Herman / Luis Felipe / Felipe Echenique / Will Welles.
“It was a really, really good day and we finally started to work out how to sail out here,” grinned Paul Ward. “We always love coming to Bacardi Cup because it is cold, wet and miserable at home and the sun is shining here and we have some fantastic racing." Anticipating the races ahead, Ward continued, “There are two more days and there are a lot of fast boats, which is why we love coming out here as the competition is great. We’ve just got to see how we go and the boys are going well, everyone’s enjoying themselves and the bar is open, so life is good!"
In the Viper 640 fleet, it was Will Graves / Ryan Cox / Greg Dair who set the early running, with results of 1,2,3, but the defending Bacardi Invitational Champions Geoff Ewenson / Mary Ewenson / Tyler Bjorn soon settled into their groove to claim wins in races 2 and 3.
An all-American line up is contesting the VX One fleet, and reflecting the closeness of racing a different team won each of the three races. Matching scorecards to Ched Proctor / David Guggenheim / Monica Morgan and Sandra Askew / Kyle Kandt / Jason Curvie (USA) in the first two races was ultimately settled by a 2nd place finish for Proctor and crew in race 3 to give them the series lead. Second to Askew / Kandt / Curvie on tiebreak advantage over Bill Wiggins / Jeff Eiber / Farby Cappellin
Tonight teams will enjoy another memorable party night hosted by Bacardi at Shake a Leg Miami. Racing continues on Friday 6 March, with one race for the Star Classes and three to four races for all other fleets.
Bacardi Cup 2020 - Star Class Top 3 - After 4 races
1. Mateusz Kusznierewicz / Bruno Prada (POL 8548) - 5 pts
2. Eivind Melleby / Joshua Revkin (NOR 8234) - 10 pts
3. Augie Diaz /Henry Boening (USA 8509) - 14 pts
J70 - Top 3 - After 3 races
1. Eat Slepp J Repeat (GBR 1127) - Paul Ward / Ruairidh Scott / Ben Saxton / Mario Trindade - 5 pts
2. Surge (USA 179) - Ryan McKillen / John Wallace / Sam Loughborough / Mark Mendelblatt - 12 pts
3. New Wave (USA 456) - Pablo Herman / Luis Felipe / Felipe Echenique / Will Welles - 17 pts
Melges 24 - Top 3 - After 3 races
1. USA 420 (USA 420) - Bora Gulari / Kyle Navin / Norman Berg / ian Liberty / Taylor Canfield - 4 pts
2. Shaka (USA 801) - KC Shannon / Jackson Benvenutti / Ben Lynchi / Tom Sawchuk / Elizabeth Whitener - 6 pts
3. Raza Mixta (USA 820) - Peter Duncan / Victor Diaz de Leon / Mattero Ramian / Carlos Robles / Willem Van Waay - 15 pts
Viper 640 - Top 3 - After 3 races
1. USA 293 (USA 293) - Will Graves / Ryan Cox / Greg Dair - 6 pts
2. Evil Hiss (USA 297) - Geoff Ewenson / Mary Ewenson / Tyler Bjorn - 8 pts
3. Antix (USA 296) - Anthony O’Leary / Ben Field / Nicholas O'Leary - 17 pts
VXOne - Top 3 - After 3 races
1. VX1 - (USA 187) - Ched Proctor / David Guggenheim / Monica Morgan - 6 pts
2. Flying Jenny (USA 277) - Sandra Askew / Kyle Kandt / Jason Curvie - 10 pts
3. Send it (USA 160) - Bill Wiggins / Jeff Eiber / Darby Cappellin - 10 pts
Cabrinha AV8 - Top 3 - After 4 races
1. Damien Le Roy - 4 pts
2. Brendan Healy - 10 pts
3. Kent Marcovich - 14 pts
Open Windfoil - Top 3 - After 4 races
1. Gabriel Browne - 3 pts
2. Alexander Temko - 6 pts
3. Justin Ahearn - 9 pts
Photo Credits Martina Orsini / Bacardi Invitational Regatta